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The New Media Landscape

There’s no such thing as a ‘standard’ building when it comes to housing media and other non-corporate occupiers. 

Image © David Churchill
University of Salford, MediaCityUK
Image © David Churchill
QVC HQ & TV Studios
Image © David Churchill
QVC HQ & TV Studios
University of Salford, MediaCityUK

Over recent years we have seen an increase in media users within a much more corporate environment, so how do we accommodate their diverse needs within buildings specified to the standards of the British Council for Offices?

Our recent experiences with QVC at Chiswick Park and the University of Salford at MediaCityUK have given us a unique insight into the ways to get the best for our clients in these potentially restrictive situations, especially those in the TV sector. The driving theme is that these technical projects require intensive collaboration from an early stage.

Here’s a selection of the specific conclusions from our experience:

  1. Any special technical requirements need early negotiations with the landlord and base build team.
  2. To allow for the inclusion of studio spaces, a double-height space must be created. The choice of structural solution is critical to the ability to form large openings in floor slabs.
  3. Much of the technology is built and proven off-site. On-site conditions for assembly and final testing demand a clean and dust free environment.  The phasing of integration of these technologies is also very important.
  4. The technical requirements relating to acoustic insulation are extremely complex. The appointment of a designer and contractor experienced in high acoustic specifications is vital.  Any poorly detailed junctions or poor quality installations will have significant operational impact on the end users.
  5. Higher fire ratings and gas suppression are required to allow control rooms and studios to remain live.
  6. To eliminate camera shake for HD broadcast and recording, the ‘response factor’ (bounce) of the floor must be reduced to a performance of 1, as opposed to the BCO specification level of 8.
  7. Multiple generator back up, including diesel tank top up, is needed to maintain all systems and sustain live broadcast.
  8. Multiple cooling systems are needed to efficiently condition the different zones. In particular, high-level chilled super beams are required to reduce heat levels caused by studio lights.
  9. Hi-Fog fire suppression systems are required in lieu of sprinkler systems, which are not available on site for insurance reasons.
  10. The structural loading of the building may need to be enhanced to incorporate heavy resilient plant, generators, chillers, blade servers or the need for large-span, column-free, double-height space for studios.